In Bearing, we have a system with peer review of our work. Projects are developed through project processes with built in quality checks, and then all deliverables are checked by a senior consultant, and deliverables by a senior consultant are checked by a Director or Partner. When we do this, we say we do Quality Assurance, but what do we really mean by this?
If we search the web for the meaning of the term Quality assurance (QA), we will immediately find another term which is related to QA, and this term is Quality Control (QC). These two terms are closely related concepts, in the scope of quality management, but different in their focus.
Definitions of QC are saying that this concept, or we may say tool, is usually used to verify the quality of the output. QA definitions, on the other hand, are based on the principles of process of managing the quality. These two terms are required to assure success of some project, and applying only one of them is not enough; it is necessary to use them both.
Likewise, if we only focus on QC then we are simply conducting verification without any clear vision for making our checks repeatable, for understanding and eliminating problems in testing, and for generally driving improvement into the means we use to deliver our solutions. In either case, the delivered solution is unlikely to meet the customer expectation or satisfy the business needs that initiated the project in the first place.
It is obvious that there is a strong interdependence between QA and QC, no matter the fact that it is about two different processes. By usage of both concepts the aim is to deliver best quality service/products, and just to note: QA relies mostly on the QC feedback. Quality improvement activity must be constant guidance in ensuring the best result.
Quality is a term that affects everything; it can be considered in overall management of the company or on specific project, and in the end in every written document. Well developed management will provide levels of QA; meaning, everyone has their role, and brings knowledge inputs in the work. However, it is about monitoring and prevention of mistakes, isolating the problems, detecting them and using the best approach to resolve them.
When providing the best quality, every team will have feedback satisfaction: if the client is happy, team is happier. Levels of monitoring are in relation with mitigating the risk, it is a strategy of prevention. QA is a constructive critic and process of learning for team members. Bearing documents always undergo QA – for the language used, design, specific field of knowledge and expertise. A well presented document is a preview of the whole project; it is a core of the bigger picture. Investment into knowledge is an investment into better QA, and finally into better product/service.
It is a motivating process which brings healthier atmosphere into the firm. We at Bearing care about our clients and thus we care about the quality. It is the never-ending process of improvement, and also a vision of the firm.